Brad Cheves Named University Park’s 2023 Citizen of the Year

Brad Cheves, vice president for development and external affairs at SMU and member of University Park’s Centennial Celebration Committee, is University Park’s 2023 Citizen of the Year.

Cheves rode in the Rotary Club of Park Cities’ Fourth of July Parade as part of the honor and received a plaque in a ceremony at Goar Park.

Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Cheves attended Abilene Christian University and began his career in higher education following his graduation. He later attended law school at Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law in Malibu, California, where he met his wife, Angela. After graduation, he stayed with the university as a professor and associate dean at the School of Public Policy.

SMU recruited Cheves to serve as the associate vice president for development in 1998, and he returned to Texas for a couple of years until he returned to Pepperdine to serve as their vice president for advancement and public affairs in 2001. SMU president R. Gerald Turner asked him to return to SMU as vice president for development and external affairs in 2004, and he’s served in that position ever since. Cheves and his wife have three sons who all attended Highland Park ISD schools and SMU. 

Cheves served as a member of University Park’s Centennial Master Plan Steering Committee from 2019 until 2022 and serves on University Park’s Centennial Celebration Committee’s legacy advisory group, working to prepare educational programs and exhibits, identify a legacy project, and more for the city’s centennial celebration in April 2024.

“I came to really appreciate and understand the intertwining nature of how positive it was to have a university and community grow up together,” Cheves said. 

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Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at

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